LATE QUATERNARY VEGETATION AND CLIMATE CHANGES IN CENTRAL TEXAS BASED ON THE ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION OF ORGANIC-CARBON Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • AbstractStable carbon isotope analysis of organic carbon in alluvial deposits and soils of three streams in central Texas reveals significant shifts in the ratio of C3 to C4 plant biomass production during the past 15,000 yr. These temporal changes in vegetation appear to be in response to changes in climate. During the late Pleistocene, C4 plants comprised only about 45 to 50% of the vegetative biomass in this area, suggesting that conditions were cooler and wetter than at any time during the past 15,000 yr. The time between 11,000 and 8000 yr B.P. is interpreted as transitional between late Pleistocene conditions and warmer and drier Holocene conditions based on a slight increase in the abundance of C4 plant biomass. During the middle Holocene, between approximately 6000 and 5000 yr B.P., mixed C3/C4 plant communities were replaced almost completely by C4-dominated communities, indicating prairie expansion and warmer and drier climatic conditions. By 4000 yr B.P., the abundance of C4 plant biomass decreased to levels similar to the early Holocene transitional period, suggesting a return to cooler and wetter climatic conditions. No significant shift in the ratio of C3 to C4 productivity has occurred during the last 4000 yr, except for a slight increase in the abundance of C4 plant biomass around 2000 yr B.P. The results of this investigation correlate well with other regional late Quaternary climatic interpretations for central and north Texas, the Southern Plains region, and with other portions of the Great Plains.

published proceedings

  • QUATERNARY RESEARCH

author list (cited authors)

  • NORDT, L. C., BOUTTON, T. W., HALLMARK, C. T., & WATERS, M. R.

complete list of authors

  • NORDT, LC||BOUTTON, TW||HALLMARK, CT||WATERS, MR

publication date

  • January 1, 1994 11:11 AM